MIDLAND, Texas — Tuesday there was a groundbreaking for the Pre-K Academy and Center for Teaching Excellence at Midland College.
"A Pre-K academy on the first floor, that's an academy for three year olds and four year olds and then on the second floor it will house classrooms and offices for our early childhood teacher preparation and our associative arts teaching program,"' said Steve Thomas, President of Midland College.
Right now we need more teachers in our area.
"What's really beneficial is we're training more teachers, so there can be more teachers reaching more children, not only in Midland but in Ector County and potentially in the region, that's the plan. What we found was there's kids that wanted to go to Pre-K but we didn't have enough trained teachers in early childhood education," said Grant Billingsly, CEO and President of the Scharbauer Foundation.
Being a kid in Pre-K has a lot of benefits for children and their future.
"When you look at statistics of how children perform, if they're not at a reading level in first grade, they're really in trouble and so many of these kids are coming in without this Pre-K opportunity so they're not really prepared," said Thomas.
Pre-K gives kids a head start for the rest of their education.
"We want kids to succeed in school and what we found was when you show up for kindergarten and you're not ready to learn you're in a deficit, you're in a bad spot already..... So as a community we've come together and put together a unique program here at Midland College that I think is going to serve children for decades to come," said Billingsly.
The new building will be about 60,000 square foot and thanks to donors in the community it's almost fully paid for.
"This is the land of the high sky, this is the land of dreamers and when you look to Midland particularly it's always been a generous community, they've always, they being donors and foundations, have always when someone brought a need to them if they could help fill that need they would do that and this is just another great example," said Thomas.
The Permian Strategic Partnership and the Scharbauer Foundation were big funders in this project, donating about ten million dollars each. The ribbon cutting is set to take place in August of 2023.